Author: Mel Winger, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
A call too late.
A twenty-eight foot yacht ended-up sinking on the beach at Martello Bay just four hundred metres from the Clacton boathouse.
She was on passage to Bradwell Marina when she lost engine power. The skipper raised sail hoping to continue but was heading into the wind and tide. By the time he realized he was making no headway and was being driven onto the shore it was too late.
He sent out a mayday call but was not sure of his position. While the coastguards were trying to establish where he was they received a call from a member of the public to say that a yacht was on the rocks near Clacton golf course.
The Atlantic 75 lifeboat launched at 6.30pm and found the yacht aground on the rocks of the fishtail breakwater. The four people on board had managed to get ashore safely. The crew put a line aboard and pulled her off the rocks but she was badly holed and the pumps could not cope with the amount of water she was taking. They towed her round to the lea side of the breakwater where she sank in about six feet of water.
The “D” class lifeboat was called at assist and was able to recover personal items from the vessel and clear the debris from the sea. The wind was southwesterly (onshore) gusting to thirty miles per hour and the sea state moderate.
Had the skipper sent out a call when he first lost power there would have been sufficient time to get him safely under tow and to his destination. When I spoke to him the following morning he said “I didn’t want to give anyone any trouble“.
Lifeboat Press Officer Clacton-on-Sea RNLI